Seven players who have previously worn a Waterloo Black Hawks sweater into regular season action could be on the bench this weekend when the team begins the 2015/16 hockey season.

Another half dozen skaters with junior hockey experience, plus a dynamic group of newcomers, will quickly be well-known to Waterloo fans during Head Coach P.K. O’Handley’s 14th year with the club.

“There are familiar names and new names at every position, and that is one of the things which makes the start of the season exciting,” said O’Handley. “For fans, it is great to see faces from last season as well as the excited expressions which come with kids getting their first opportunity to take the ice in this special place.”

As for veteran players, the Black Hawks have a solid foundation in net with 2015 All-USHL 3rd Team goaltender Cale Morris. The Notre Dame recruit won 19 of 28 appearances and pitched four shutouts between his acquisition in January and the end of the 2014/15 schedule.

Defenseman Sam Rossini is one of four Hawks back patrolling the team’s blue line and has been highlighted by NHL Central Scouting as a strong candidate for the 2016 National Hockey League Draft. Up front, Ronnie Hein provides experience after scoring 11 goals (including three game-winners) during 33 appearances.

Two other veteran forwards – Niko Hildenbrand and Liam Pecararo – wait in the wings while starting the season on injured reserve.

However, there is no lack of experience in the forward corps. Latvian native Georgs Golovkovs comes to the United States following two seasons with Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Brandon Schultz ranked second offensively for the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League in 2014/15. Hunter Luhmann was a regular in the lineup for the Madison Capitols last year, and Ryley Risling played against USHL’ers while representing Canada West during the 2014 World Junior A Challenge.

During the offseason, the Hawks also added former Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Michael Davies. A preseason trade earlier this week brought Wisconsin recruit Tony Stillwell and future USHL Draft considerations from the Capitols in exchange for Phil Beaulieu and Tyson McLellan.

An intriguing group of junior hockey rookies may prove to be the most exciting component of Waterloo’s 2015/16 roster. Netminder Dayton Rasmussen is committed to the University of Denver. Defenseman and tender-signee Mikey Anderson is already a Minnesota-Duluth recruit and follows his older brother, Joey (U.S. National Team Development Program), to the league. Forward David Cotton was a 2015 draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, while University of Minnesota prospect Garrett Wait and Nova Scotia scoring sensation Shane Bowers are highly regarded candidates for the 2016 and 2017 NHL Drafts respectively.

The opening faceoff of the 2015/16 season will be Friday on the road against the Bloomington Thunder. The Hawks are on home ice for the first time Saturday versus the Muskegon Lumberjacks at 7:05 p.m., presented by Texas Roadhouse. The first 2,000 people in attendance will claim a Black Hawks magnetic schedule, sponsored by La Porte City Bakery and 1650, The Fan. For tickets, call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680, or visit waterlooblackhawks.com.

#
PLAYER
POS
HEIGHT
WEIGHT
D.O.B
HOMETOWN
4
Michael Davies
D
5-8
160
Jan 26, 1997
Kirkwood, MO
9
Sam Rossini
D
6-2
195
Jun 19, 1998
Inver Grove Heights, MN
13
Nick Swaney
F
5-10
165
Sep 09, 1997
Lakeville, MN
15
Shane Bowers
F
6-1
170
Jul 30, 1999
Halifax, NS
16
Ryley Risling
F
6-2
194
May 09, 1996
Medicine Hat, AB
17
Garrett Wait
F
5-11
180
Jun 13, 1998
Edina, MN
18
Alex Robert
D
6-0
185
Jan 08, 1995
Novi, MI
19
Niko Hildenbrand
F
5-10
191
Aug 18, 1995
Vacaville, CA
24
Mikey Anderson
D
5-11
200
May 25, 1999
Roseville, MN
25
Georgs Golovkovs
F
6-0
180
Jul 11, 1995
Riga LAT
26
Cameron Orchard
F
6-1
192
Jun 27, 1998
Dorr, MI
27
Matt Stief
D
5-8
170
Jan 13, 1996
Boca Raton, FL
28
Kevin Charyszyn
F
5-10
175
Jul 11, 1996
Jamison, PA
29
Collin Saccoman
D
6-1
195
Mar 05, 1997
Stillwater, MN
31
Dayton Rasmussen
G
6-2
190
Nov 04, 1998
Eden Prairie, MN
33
Cale Morris
G
6-1
190
May 22, 1996
Larkspur, CO
39
Liam Pecararo
F
5-11
165
Apr 06, 1996
Canton, MA
40
Ronnie Hein
F
6-0
175
Jan 22, 1997
Chelsea, MI
46
Ben Newhouse
D
5-8
175
Jun 16, 1997
Edina, MN
47
Hunter Luhmann
F
5-11
180
May 02, 1997
White River Junction, VT
51
Brandon Schultz
F
5-8
155
Jun 15, 1996
Estero, FL
77
Mason Anderson
D
6-2
160
Feb 23, 1995
Anchorage, AK
88
Yuri Terao
F
5-8
175
Apr 29, 1995
Tomakomai, JPN
89
Tony Stillwell
D
5-8
161
Apr 18, 1997
Green Bay, WI
92
David Cotton
F
6-2
200
Jul 09, 1997
Parker, TX
GM/Head Coach: P.K. O’Handley   Assistant Coaches: Steve Howard, Bryce Anderson
Team Trainer: Todd Klein   Strength Coach & Equipment Manager: Spenser Popinga